Place-Name Meanings E to J
E Eaglescliffe to Eston
Easington (County Durham)
Probably the farm of Easa's or Esa's people.
Eastgate (County Durham)
Eastgate and Westgate, two villages, three miles apart, in upper Weardale marked the eastern and western entrances to the medieval hunting park of Durham's Prince Bishops. It was here that hunting expeditions called the `Great Chases' were held. Weardale's hunting forest, known as Stanhope Park, was the second largest hunting ground in England after the New Forest in Hampshire. The park and its forest were full of game, deer, wolves, and wild boar and the bishops jealously guarded their rights to hunting the area. Weardale people were expected to provide hounds for the hunts, along with enormous quantities of food, wine and beer. Bishop Pudsey's Boldon Buke of 1183, records that the people of Bishop Auckland, West Auckland and Escomb were required to help at the chases by making a temporary hall in the forest 60 feet in length, by 16 feet in breadth, with a butchery, store house, chamber and privy. Another responsibility of the Aucklandshire folk was the making of a temporary chapel 40 feet by 15 feet. The people of Stanhope were responsible for building a kitchen, a larder and a dog kennel, and provided straw for the hall, chapel and chamber. Stanhope was also the site of a forest court established for the trial of poachers.
Ebchester (County Durham)
Chester signifies the site of the Roman fort called Vindomara that once existed here (see Chester-le-Street). Later this fort is thought to have become the site of a monastery belonging to a female saint called Ebbe or Ebba, who also gave her name to St Abb's Head in Scotland.
Edmonbyers (County Durham)
Simply means the byres or cow sheds belonging to Edmond.
Edmondsley (County Durham)
This means a ley or clearing belonging to an Edeman - a shepherd.
Egglescliffe means either the hill belonging to a Saxon called Ecgi or the eccles hill, which means a hill with a church on it. The latter seems very likely as the parish church of Egglescliffe sits on a hill-top overlooking the town of Yarm across the River Tees. Place names containing the element eccles or eggles are thought to be among the earliest centres of Christianity in Britain and were Christian settlements established in pre-Saxon times. Eccles is a word of Greek origin meaning an assembly of citizens and is closely related to the word ecclesiaistic. Very near to Egglescliffe village we can find Eaglescliffe, a place which owes its origin to more recent times. Eaglescliffe's name is said to have resulted from a misspelling of Egglescliffe on a railway station platform sign in Victorian times. As far as we know eagles have never frequented this area.
Eldon (County Durham)
This place near Bishop Auckland means the hill or don belonging to a Saxon called Elle or Aelle. Eldon Square in Newcastle takes its name from Lord Eldon, who was lord of these parts in the nineteenth century.
Eldon Square (Tyneside)
An Anglo-Saxon name meaning Ell's dene or valley
Elstob (County Durham)
The stumb or boundary marker erected by or in honour of Elle, perhaps the Northumbrian king of that name.
Elvet (County Durham)
Elvet, now a part of Durham City was first mentioned two hundred and thirty three years before Durham was founded by the Monks in 995 AD. It was at Elvet in the year 762 AD that a Bishop of Whithorn called Peotwine was consecrated, suggesting that Elvet was a place of some importance. A further indication of significance may be that Elvet's parish church is the only historic church in England dedicated to St Oswald, a one time King of Northumbria. The church may stand on the site of the place where the bishop was consecrated. Elvet's name has an Anglo-Saxon origin and was originally Aelfet-ee, the first part of the name meaning swan and the second part 'ee' being a primitive word for a river or 'river-island'. This name seems somewhat obscure but Elvet is very historic. Close by is Maiden Castle, the site of an iron age hill fort, now principally famed for the training ground used by Newcastle United at the foot of the hill. Maiden Castle also overlooks the site of 'Old Durham', where a Roman villa once stood. The villa was one of the most northernmost in the Roman Empire. Elvet is linked to the what is often thought to be the more historic centre of Durham by the medieval Elvet Bridge, but in a way ancient and Roman Elvet predate Durham by over a thousand years.
This was the wick or farm belonging to Ella.
An Anglo-Saxon name meaning Eanbuld's farm
Eryholme (County Durham)
Eryholme is situated on the Yorkshire side of the River Tees between Croft and Dinsdale. It is located in the part of the Tees valley where the river makes several dramatic loops called 'holmes'. The word 'holm' is of Viking origin and means island formed by a river. Eryholme's name is however a corruption of its original name Erghum. This name means shieling - a shelter for livestock, which derives from the Old Irish word word 'airgh'. This word was introduced into Norse Vikings who had previously lived in Dublin (Hiberno-Norse).
Escomb (County Durham)
Thought to mean either Eddi's Cumb, a valley belonging to either Eddi or Aedi, or an Anglos-Saxon plural form of the word Eddish meaning park. Escomb is today primarily noted for the famous Escomb church, one of the most complete Saxon churches in the country and arguably England's oldest church.
Esh (County Durham)
See Esh Winning
Esh Winning (County Durham)
There are two elements to this name, one ancient, one modern. Esh is the oldest part of the name and refers to the nearby village of Esh, which is a much older settlement than Esh Winning. A hilltop village, Esh has an Anglo-Saxon name, meaning Ash Tree. Presumably an ash tree formed a prominent landmark in Anglo Saxon times. Esh Winning is a name and place of more recent origin. This was a colliery village and the 'winning' refers not to the success of the local football team but to the finding of coal in the area in Victorian times.
A Saxon name meaning the East farm
Evenwood (County Durham)
Simply means an even or level woodland.
F Farne Islands to Frosterley
Farne Islands (Northumberland)
The Farne Islands include Megstone, Crumstone, Elbow, Goldstone, Knivestone, Wideopens, Roddam and Green, Gloroum Shad, Fang, The Bush, Blue Caps, North and South Wamses, Staple Island, Big and Little Harcar, Longstone, Callers, Brownsman and Nameless Rock. See Lindisfarne
Newly cleared or felled land.
Ferryhill (County Durham)
A map of County Durham dated 1646 labels Ferryhill as 'Ferry on ye Mount'. In 1316 the name was Ferye on the Hill, but earlier still it was simply known as 'Ferie'. Needless to say, there has never been a ferry at Ferryhill as there is no river here and a hill top would be a strange location for a ferry anyway. Nor is this the 'fairy hill' visited by the fairies who are said to have lived further south on Middridge Fell. Ferry, as it was originally called, is a reference to the hill top location and derives from the Anglo-Saxon word 'Firgen' meaning 'wooded hill'. Later, when this word went out of use and its meaning forgotten, the word hill was added. Much of Ferryhill owes its origins to coal mining and the town was famous as the site of the great Dean and Chapter Colliery. In earlier times the place was better known for its long village green on the top of the hill, but as early as 1354 the monks of Durham are known to have leased coal mines at Ferry. Cleves Cross, nearby is said to be the place where one Roger de Ferry, otherwise known as 'Hodge of Ferry' dug the pit which trapped the notorious wild boar known as the Brancepeth Brawn. Hodge's grave is reputedly an ancient stone coffin at Merrington church with a carving of a stone and a spade.
Finchale (County Durham)
Finchale, on a picturesque stretch of the River Wear near Durham was first mentioned in 792 AD when it was the site of an Anglo-Saxon synod held to discuss matters of church discipline. Further meetings were held here in 798 and 810. The name of Finchale is Anglo-Saxon and means either the dale frequented by finches or a 'halh' or heal of land frequented by this particular kind of bird. Despite its spelling, Finchale is pronounced Finkle and is reminder that the word Finch has changed in its pronounciation. It originally described the 'Fink-Fink' sound made by these birds. In 1104 Finchale became the site of a hermitage inhabited by Godric an eccentric saint who was formerly a pirate. He regularly stayed whole winter nights naked in the middle of the River Wear with water up to his neck. On returning to the river bank, he would roll himself in thorn bushes to stop himself from having lusty or wicked thoughts. Occasionally it is said that the Devil paid a visit to Finchale, while Godric was still in the river and made off with his clothes. Sometime shortly after Godric's death, at the age of one hundred and five Finchale became the site of a Priory used by the monks of Durham as a holiday retreat.
Fishburn (County Durham)
An Anglo-Saxon name meaning the stream where fish were plentiful.
Flass (County Durham)
This place near Lanchester means the marshy place.
Flodden means flooded hill, it was surrounded by marshlands which played an important part in the battle of Flodden Field in 1513.
Foggy Furze (Teesside)
West Hartlepool only came into existence in 1847 with the building of the West Dock near the village of Stranton. As West Hartlepool grew it merged with the fishing village of Old Hartlepool on the headland to the north and swallowed up the village of Stranton. West Hartlepool became the largest settlement and the modern town centre of Hartlepool is in what used to be known as West Hartlepool. The former villages and farms swallowed up by the expanding town have now become parts of Hartlepool and include Owton which means the farm of Owfa. Stranton is thought to mean the Strand ton, that is the farm near the coastal strand. The most intriguing place name in Hartlepool is Foggy Furze in the south east of the town. Furze is an alternative word for gorse so it is possible that the area was noted for its gorse bushes, but in Victorian times it seems to have been called Foggy Furrows. Foggy is an old word used to describe an area where coarse grass grows and derives from Fogg an Old Norse word for grass. It is from this word that we get the name of the grass called Yorkshire Fog. Foggy Furze, now a part of Hartlepool is almost certainly an old field name. It would seem to mean the ploughed fields where coarse grass grew.
A ford river crossing.
Framwellgate Moor (County Durham)
Framwellgate Moor, like Gilesgate Moor takes its name from a Durham street. The street called Framwellgate, along with neighbouring Millburngate formed what was known as the 'Old Borough' and was linked to the centre of Durham across the River Wear by Bishop Flambard's Framwellgate Bridge in 1128. Millburngate took its name from the mill burn stream, now culverted under Durham's North Road, while Framwellgate is named after a well which supplied water to a pant in Durham's market place. In 1729 a statue of King Neptune was placed on this market place pant and although it was removed in 1923 and moved to Wharton Park, it returned in 1991. The Fram Well which supplied the pant was located on the opposite side of the river close to the medieval house called Crook Hall, but the superstructure which covered the well is now located alongside the A691 'Framwellgate Peth'. Framwellgate's moorland to the north was enclosed for farming in 1802 along with Witton Gilbert Moor and Brasside Common. Later a coal mine called Framwellgate Moor Old Pit was opened in 1838 and spurred on population growth but the name of Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me still recall the poor quality farmland that existed hereabouts. In recent times Framwellgate Moor's population has expanded with the growth of the Newton Hall housing estate. Newton Hall takes its name from a Gerogian House which once stood here. The house, once a branch of the County Durham Lunatic Asylum was demolished in 1926. Her Majesty's Prison Frankland is located on the edge of the Newton Hall Estate. It takes its name from Frankland Park, a medieval deer park that once belonged to the Prince Bishops of Durham.
Frankland (County Durham)
Frankland, now the site of a prison near Durham. It was once a hunting park for the Bishops of Durham. Before that it was land belonging to a franklin, a landowner of free but not noble birth.
Friar's Goose (Tyneside)
This part of Gateshead is so named because gorse or broom also known as 'Friar's Goose' was abundant here
Frosterley (County Durham)
Frosterley' in Weardale has a name has nothing to do with cold frosty mornings, but in fact means 'the forester's clearing', a glade of land once inhabited by a forester. The word Forester derives from the Old French word Forestier and was probably introduced into Britain by the Normans. This word has been corrupted into 'Froster' in the case of Frosterley. The second part of Frosterley's name is 'Ley', an Anglo-Saxon word meaning a clearing in a wood or forest. It is thought that leys were natural glades, rather than man made clearings. Names ending in the word ley are extremely common in the western part of County Durham. In Anglo-Saxon and medieval times this part of the County was a vast forest inhabited by some of the last surviving wild boars in Britain. Over the centuries much of the vast forest has been cleared by man, but names like Langley, meaning the 'long clearing' or Crawleyside, 'the clearing inhabited by crows' abound. Other places ending in ley in western Durham include Shotley, Stanley, Satley, Waskerley, Rowley, Knitsley and Copley. These names are also abundant in the adjoining part of Northumberland where we find Hedley, Healey, Lambley, Slaley and many others.
G Gainford to Guisborough
Gainford (County Durham)
Gainford on the River Tees was an important Anglo-Saxon estate centre which in later years became a centre of Viking age sculpture. There are three theories to the name, one being that it derives from Gegn Ford meaning the direct or straight fording point across the River Tees. Alternatively the name could mean the ford belonging to a Viking called Gegnir. In legend the origin of the name Gainford conects it with Barforth (or Barford) which lies on the opposite bank of the River Tees. It is said that there was a battle between the two places over who controlled the crossing. During the battle the residents from the south bank of the Tees are said to have barricaded the ford and so became Barford, while the north side folk were the eventual victors and gained the ford - hence Gainford.
Garmondsway (County Durham)
Garmondsway is the name of a deserted medieval village. Its name simply means Garmund's road. King Canute is said to have made a pilgrimage to Durham from here. See also Trimdon.
Gateshead was at the head of the Roman Road which crossed the Tyne at this point. The location of the place seems to explain the name, as the old northern word gate meant road or way. Head of the road would seem a satisfactory explanation if it were not for the Venerable Bede, who writing of Gateshead in Saxon times described the place as Ad Caprae Caput. This name translates not as Gateshead but as Goat's Head. The heads of goats and other animals were often fixed on poles as the symbol of a meeting place. In 1080 Gateshead was used as a meeting place by the first Prince Bishop of Durham William Walcher who, called a meeting with his people at the site. They murdered him.
Gaunless, River (County Durham)
Gaunless is a Viking name meaning 'useless'. See Bishop Auckland
Gilesgate Moor (County Durham)
Gilesgate Moor, like Framwellgate Moor is a part of Durham and both derive their names from historic streets. These two places were part of the 'moorland' surrounding Durham before the land was enclosed for farming and are today ocupied by subburbs of Durham. Gilesgate means the street of St Giles and the second part of the name derives from 'gate', an old Viking word for 'street'. The street called Gilesgate passes close to the historic church of St Giles and is known to older locals as Gillygate. This was the medieval name of the street and is similar to Gillygate, a street in York, although Durham's Gillygate is pronounced with as soft 'g', York's with a hard 'g'. A church of St Giles once stood in York's Gillygate, and the same was true of the street called Gilegate (without the s), in Beverley. In Hexham, the street called Gilesgate is sometimes confused with Gilesgate in Durham and was likewise known as Gilligate in historic times. This street led to a medieval hospital dedicated to St Giles.
Glen, River (Northumberland)
Derives from the Celtic Glano meaning clean and holy.
Glororum Shad (County Durham)
One of the Farne Islands, the first element may be Glower-oer-im, to watch over a neighbour. Glower-o'er-im is also the name of a farm near Sedgefield. See also the Farne Islands.
Glower o'er im (County Durham)
See Gloroum Shad.
An Anglo-Saxon name meaning Goose ford - a crossing of a stream (The Ouse Burn), frequented by geese.
A grange is a name for a farm. It has been swallowed up by urban expansion.
Site of a dock established by Hartlepool shipbuilder William Gray in Victorian times.
Great Ayton (Teesside)
Derives from Ea-tun the tun or farm on an 'ea' or river.
Great Burdon (Teesside)
Burdon means fortified place or burgh on a hill or don.
Great Stainton (Teesside)
Stainton means stony place or farm, the letter 'i' in Stain suggests Viking influence.
This name is Anglo-Saxon and may derive from greot ham meaning the stony or gravelly homestead.
Greta Bridge (County Durham)
Greta is a Viking river name meaning stony stream.
Greta, River (County Durham)
See Greta Bridge
Perhaps the borough or fort belonging to a Viking called Gigr. There is evidence of extensive Viking settlement in the vicinity of Guisborough.
H Hallgarth to Hutton Henry
Hallgarth (County Durham)
Perhaps a garth or yard in a heal or corner of land.
The name of this Northumbrian town in the heart of Hadrians Wall Country would seem straigtforward enough and not surprisingly is often interpreted as a railway station halt where locomotives blew their whistles. In the nineteenth century Haltwhistle was certainly the site of a Victorian railway station but the name is not in any way connected with this and is first recorded in the thirteenth century as Hautwisel. There are two parts to the name the first haut is Old French and means high ground. The second element is Twisel or Twisla and is a word of medieval origin meaning a fork in a road or river. In the case of Haultwhistle the twisla is a fork in the river where the River South Tyne is joined by the Haltwhistle Burn. Haltwhistle is situated on high ground located in the fork formed by the conjunction of the two watercourses. Other twisels in the north include Twizel near Berwick, Twizle near Morpeth and Twizell between Chester-le-Street and Stanley.
Hamsterley (County Durham)
Hamastra's ley, the clearing of the hamastra - a corn weevil.
An Anglo-Saxon name which derives from Herd Wick - the herd farm.
Harperley (County Durham)
Means the clearing of the harper.
A stream frequented by a Hart or a stag. The ancestors of George Washington came from this village. (See also Hartlepool and Washington)
The name Hartlepool originally referred to Old Hartlepool, an important medieval fishing port which merged with its Victorian neighbour called West Hartlepool in 1966. Old Hartlepool is situated on the Heugh or headland which juts out into the North Sea to form a peninsula occupied by the beautiful abbey church of St Hildas. This church is on the site of a monastery established by St Hilda and an Irish princess called Hieu in the seventh century. The earliest recorded form of the name Hartlepool was in 750 AD when the Venerable Bede described the place as 'Heruteu, id est insula cerui' or the 'Stag Island'. This may be a reference to the stag like shape of the peninsula, but could also mean a place inhabited by Harts, or stags as they are now known. Hart is also the name of the nearby village of Hart and the two places together once formed part of a district called Hartness. The le in Hart-le-pool is probably from the French definite article and the word pool added at a later date is a description of the natural harbour formed by the hook of the headland peninsula. See also Foggy Furze.
Haswell (County Durham)
A corruption of Haesel Wella - the hazel spring.
Haughton le Skerne (County Durham)
The name of Haughton le Skerne near Darlington could be translated as the meadow farmstead by the bright stream or river. Haugh is the first element of the name and means riverside meadow and is a common feature of Northumberland and Durham place names. Ton, meaning a farmstead is common throughout England and like haugh is a word of Anglo-Saxon origin. To distinguish the numerous Haughtons, Houghtons and Hettons from each other the French definite article 'le' was added by the Norman aristocracy to help them identify the places which they ruled. The 'le' associates places like Houghton le Spring, Hetton le Hole and Hetton le Hill with adjacent natural features. Haughton is identified by the nearby River Skerne, a river which adds a Viking element to this particular place name. Skerne derives from the Old Norse, Skirr meaning bright and clear. Skerne is also the name of a village in Humberside named after a nearby beck.
Headlam (County Durham)
This may derive from Health-leam, meaning a clearing overgown with heather.
Heaton means the high farm.
From the Anglo-Saxon Hea Byrgen, a high tumulus.
Heighington (County Durham)
An Anglo-Saxon name thought to mean the farm of Hecca's people
Hett (County Durham)
Simply meaning hill, high or a hat like hill.
Hetton-le-Hill (County Durham)
Originally Heope dun a hill where hips grew. See also Hetton-le-Hole and Haughton le Skerne.
Hetton-le-Hole (County Durham)
At the foot of Hetton le Hill. See Hetton-le-Hill and Hutton-le -Hole.
A name corrupted from a confusing original form meaning Hagulstald's stream. The town was the site of an abbey built by St Wilfrid in the seventh century but surprisingly despite its importance and proximity to Hadrian's Wall, it seems to have no Roman origins.
High Coniscliffe (County Durham)
High Coniscliffe has the only church in England dedicated to St Edwin, a Christian king who ruled the north of England during the seventh century. King Edwin united the kingdom of Deira (south of the River Tees) with Bernicia (north of the Tees) into a new kingdom called Northumbria. Edwin rose to great prominence and became the overking of all England, but in the century following his death civil war broke out in Northumbria between the people of Bernicia and Deira. In 761 the Bernician leader called Oswin was murdered by a Deiran called Aethelwald Moll of Catterick at a place called Edwinscliffe on the borderland between the two kingdoms. Seventeen years later another skirmish took place in this border zone at a place called Cyninges Cliffe at which a local chieftain was killed. It is thought that Edwinscliffe and Cyningescliffe are the same place. The Anglo Saxon word Cyning means king, thus Cyningescliffe means the cliff or hill of King Edwin. Later the word Cyninge was modified by the Vikings whose word for a king was Coning, subsequently Coningscliffe became Coniscliffe as it is still known today.
High Force (County Durham)
Most waterfalls in Teesdale, Yorkshire and Cumbria are called 'forces' and the most famous of them all is High Force in Teesdale. The word force is a good description of the water falling with great force over the narrow outcrops of rock to form a waterfall, but in fact the word in this case derives from the Old Viking word Fors meaning waterfall. High Force is so named to distinguish it from the lesser known Low Force waterfall further downstream. Other famous waterfalls in Teesdale include White Force, Bleabeck Force, Maizebeck Force and Summerhill Force. Sir Walter Scott knew of the Viking place names in Teesdale and described how 'When Denmarks raven soared on high triumphant through Northumbrian sky, the broad shadow of her wing blackened each catarcact and spring where Tees in tumult leaves his source thundering oer Caldron and High Force.' The Caldron referred to is of course Teesdale 's other great waterfall Cauldron Snout, a series of cataracts which resemble an overflowing cauldron of bubbling Tees water forming the highest waterfall in England.
High Shincliffe (County Durham)
Once the site of a mining village called Bank Top, the modern name derives from Shincliffe. See Shincliffe.
High Spen (County Durham)
High Worsall (Teesside)
Worsall derives from Weorc's Haugh, the meadow belonging to Weorc. Situated near Yarm this was once the most westerly tidal point on the River Tees until the creation of the Tees barrage.
Means the cliff or hill in a horn or tongue of land.
Early forms of the name suggest that spring may refer to a sprig or young man who owned land in the area. See also Haughton-le-Skerne.
Hunderthwaite (County Durham)
This place in Teesdale has a Viking name meaning Hunrothr's clearing. A battle was fought against the Scots here in the eleventh century.
Hunwick (County Durham)
The farm or village belonging to Huna.
Hurworth (County Durham)
In earlier times Hurthworth, It means the enclosed settlement (worth) with a wickerwork hurdle or hedge (Hurth).
Hutton Henry (County Durham)
Hutton Henry's Henry was a fourteenth century man called Henry de Eshe who owned land in the area. For an explanation of Hutton see Hutton Rudby.
I Ingleby Barwick to Irthing River
Ingleby Barwick (Teesside)
See Ingleby Arncliffe
Inkerman (County Durham)
Ireshopeburn (County Durham)
Ireshopeburn in upper Weardale is a village with an Anglo-Saxon name that refers to Irish-Scandinavians. There are three parts to the name Ires meaning Irish, hope meaning valley and burn meaning stream. Hope pronounced 'up' and burn are Anglo-Saxon words, although the latter is often mistakingly thought to be Scottish. The connection with the Irish probably comes from Cumbria, only a few miles to the west beyond the Durham border. Cumbria was a place of considerable Viking settlement, settled primarily by Norwegian Vikings who sailed around the northern tip of Scotland and then down the western coast into the Irish Sea. Dublin in Ireland became the capital city of all Norwegian Vikings settled in Britain and many people of mixed Irish-Norse origin settled in Cumbria and Lancashire when the native Irish evicted the Vikings from Dublin in the tenth century. Ireshopeburn in Weardale is thought to refer to a small colony of Irish Norsemen originating from Cumbria.
Irthing, River (Northumberland)
This is a Celtic River Name.
J Jarrow to Jesmond
At one time Jarrow was one of the most important centres of European civilization, and was famed across the continent as the home of the Venerable Bede. Bede, a great scholar and recorder of the scripture left many great works including the first ever history of England and biographies of saints like Cuthbert. Bede referred to his native home as In Gyruum or as Donmuth, the second meaning the place at the mouth of the River Don. The Don is a small rivulet which joins the Tyne at Jarrow. Donmouth was the home of the monastery of St Paul, part of which still exists in the form of St Paul's Church. The alternative name Jarrow is quite unususal and is thought to have tribal origins. Bedes In Gyruum refers to the Gyruii or Gyrwe tribe. Gyrwe means the marsh or fen dwellers and was the name of a tribe which inhabited the Fens near Peterborough. It is possible that members of this tribe migrated from the Peterborough area to Jarrow. Another possibility is that a separate tribe also called the marsh dwellers acquired their name from a marshy land close to where the Don joins the Tyne
From Gese Muth, meaning the mouth of the Ouse Burn. See also Gosforth
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